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Water management, and by default, air management in soils and crop production is often an under-appreciated factor in developing a successful agronomic plan. As so often occurs in any industry, the majority of attention is focused on where the bulk of the money is swallowed up. Fertilizer inputs tend to be one of the perennial favorites for spending, and it automatically attracts the attention of consultants and growers alike. Equipment is another area of focus due to the dramatic volume of capital growers spend. Other spending demands include crop protection inputs, and of course, seed....

In Tim McComish’s area of southwestern Wisconsin, there’s no shortage of hay to feed his dairy cows. But, there is a shortage of high-quality hay that can mean the difference between profit and loss. That’s where the Maximum Farming System comes in.

McComish has long seen the direct correlation between forage quality and his cows’ milk production, especially considering he typically feeds a 60% forage ration. Prior to using the Ag Spectrum Maximum Farming System, the Shullsburg, Wisconsin dairy farmer says a “good” Relative Feed Quality (RFQ) rating for his alfalfa would be around...

Throughout the Midwest, numerous acres of corn and soybeans were planted four to six weeks later than normal.  Furthermore, a considerable number of these crops were planted in soils that were either water-logged early in the spring, with continued frequent rains preventing wheel traffic on the soil, or they had cool weather in combination with other moisture which delayed planting. 

Many areas even experienced an unseasonably late snow in early May which left behind several inches of snow and freezing temperatures. Corn and soybeans that were planted late are developing in cool,...

Ag Spectrum’s Unique Approach to Research Funding

“Typically funders come to us [researchers in general] with a jug and a hat and ask us to test their products. If we’re lucky, they will also provide a small amount of funding that can help to support our research,” says Dr. Patrick Brown, Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of California Davis.

The majority of the industry has shifted to this mindset because it allows companies’ technology to be tested by an “unbiased” third party. For researchers to make real discoveries and progress in understanding basic...

By: Dr. Jim Smart, Shelly Greving

One of the management practices gaining a lot of attention is the use of cover crops. Like many practices that receive a lot of publicity, there are clear advantages to using them. However, those advantages quickly diminish when they are not managed properly. Cover crops are high atop the current list of trends, but diligent management is essential if you want to capture the benefits and avoid potential headaches.

Soil Fertility

Actively growing plants, which cover soil most of the year, help to maintain or improve soil...

Systems Approach Delivers the Breadth and Depth of Farming Responsibly

Farmers are, without doubt, a critically important resource needed to feed a rapidly growing global population. However, those same producers face a challenging paradox: balancing environmental concerns while maintaining soil productivity and still earning an income.

As advocates for sustainable farming practices, growers attempt to minimize agricultural run-off, reduce nutrient loss in fields, and maximize nutrient uptake. Farmers with tightened budgets are beginning to reexamine their approach to soil...

5th Generation Indiana Farm Family Make Soil Priority

Strolling across Charlie Fox’s farm in Seymour, Indiana, you see a farming operation inspired by innovation and a responsibility for sustainable farming. The 5th generation farm has advanced agriculture by pioneering innovative conservation practices. The Fox family has used the Maximum Farming System for six years and recognizes that success starts with understanding the soil.

The farm was originally established by Fox’s great grandfather after he returned from the Civil War more than 150 years ago. Throughout the years...

Determined Farmer Saves Farm with Help of the Maximum Farming System

When Chris Pettz harvested the last of his crops in the fall of 2005, he wasn’t sure what the future would hold.

“Five years after converting from flood irrigation to center pivot irrigation, I was seeing some yield loss. Our yields were actually declining with the new irrigation system, and herbicides and insecticides weren’t working anymore either. Everything was gradually declining,” Pettz said.

Pettz farms for non-profit landowner, Garden City Company, and the majority of his fields are located...

These soybean leaves are indicative of a potassium deficiency.

A Controversy that has Cost Farmers Countless Dollars

American farmers have spent nearly $34 billion on Potassium since 1980. Has this investment actually contributed to an increase in yield or crop quality? Not according to a recent peer reviewed research study authored by S.A. Kahn, R.L. Mulvaney and T.R. Ellsworth that found that after a survey of more than 2,100 yield response trials it was confirmed that Potassium Chloride (KCl) fertilization is unlikely to increase crop yield. Contrary to the instilled perception of KCl as a valuable commodity, more than 1,400 field trials...

Research Continues to Prove Effectiveness of the Maximum Farming System

The art of foliar feeding production crops is a hot agricultural topic that is gaining ground and publicity. An increasing number of farmers are using the practice to fine-tune their nutrient strategies to create a better crop stand and maximize yields.

A leading industry expert in foliar nutrition, Dr. Patrick Brown and his team of researchers from the University of California, Davis have been in collaboration with Ag Spectrum to conduct research that furthers the understanding of foliar feeding in the...

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